Tomato on their face – Turkish Cypriot products accused of not being inspected in south

According to yesterday’s edition of the south’s Phileleftheros, “a Greek Cypriot businessman flooded the Cyprus market with Turkish tomatoes that were illegally transferred through Pergamos to the free areas.” The article added that the authorities, including the Customs Department, turned a blind eye to the ‘import’ of tomatoes. DISY deputy Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis, also chairman of the south’s Farmers’ Union, claimed that the tomatoes had none of the necessary health inspections carried out by the authorities and therefore  consumers were put at risk.

They were allegedly relabelled as Turkish Cypriot produce AFTER being imported and sold at €1 kg when Hadjiyiannis’ union members, because of tomato disease shortages, were able to charge €3.50. This is strange as anyone running such a scam would have done the re-labelling in the north before bringing them through the crossing where a diligent customs officer might have seen the Turkish labelling.

Even forgetting the possibility that these tomatoes could have been Turkish, more serious is Hadjiyiannis’ accusation that competitor products from the north were not being checked by officials in the south and therefore should be treated by customers in the south as being suspect. The obvious implication being buy Greek Cypriot products, even at higher prices, and boycott Turkish Cypriot products.

If ever there was a justification that the north should be granted Direct Trade with the EU then this attempt to close down the north’s only trade route to the EU should be evidence enough.

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